Vivian Kung

Class of 2005-2006


“One recurring theme amongst many historical and contemporary figures who inspired me was that they were all lawyers,” says Allard Law alum Vivian Kung. “I thought that a legal background would be extremely helpful to me regardless of the career I ultimately pursued.”

Vivian graduated at the top of her class in 2006 and won numerous awards during her academic career, including Gold Medalist in 2006 and the Governor General’s Silver Medal in Arts in 2003. When asked about the secret to her academic success, she shares, “there was no magic formula! I never missed a class, I did all of my readings, took all of my own notes and studied for every exam. The one thing I’ve always had in abundance is discipline.”  

Her latest recognition as a 2020 Lexpert Rising Star marks another milestone in a storied career. “There are so many senior practitioners who I admire, who have built such awe-inspiring practices, and it’s an honor to be named alongside them in the various rankings,” she says. “My primary motivation though is to deliver the best service and work product to my clients, and I’m rewarded every day when my clients’ objectives are being satisfied.”      

Vivian credits her years at Allard for helping her figure out the direction of her career and shaping her into the lawyer she is today. “My years at UBC were so formative! All of the tools that I use to this day – my discipline, my systematic approach, my ability to process, analyze and distill information – I developed during law school,” she says. 

Vivian says her time at UBC also gave her confidence in herself that has stayed with her. “I attribute to my experience at UBC the belief I’ve always had that the world is my oyster.  I had the support and guidance of so many professors who wanted to see me succeed, who actively helped me towards my goals,” she says.  “It is so empowering to have the belief of people you strongly admire, and I’ve carried that confidence with me ever since – I want to show them that their faith in me was well placed.  I can also thank law school for introducing me to a good friend who became my first client ever!”

After completing her JD, Vivian has maintained a broad private practice, working across energy, construction, corporate/commercial, and mergers and acquisitions. “It took a number of years, and the guidance and support of a handful of incredible mentors in my Firm, but I’m at the point where I’m happy and excited to start work every day because of the people I’m working with and the nature of the files I’m working on,” she says.  “I probably have a broader practice than most lawyers, but that enables me to follow my clients as they explore different industries, and it also keeps my practice fluid and intellectually stimulating!”

After clerking at British Columbia’s highest court, Vivian worked at Blakes before completing a brief stint as senior in-house counsel for a large construction company.

She credits her in-house experience for making her a better lawyer and for allowing her to formulate a healthier mindset with regard to private practice: “It made me much more practical and able to zero in on any given client’s objective and how to achieve it efficiently and effectively.  I also needed to hit the reset button, as the combination of my work ethic, ambition and the demands of private practice led to some unsustainable practices.”  After a little over a year working in-house, Vivian returned to practice at Blakes, where she is now partner. “I missed Bay Street and I wanted to return to private practice, now with the benefit of a different mindset.” 

Vivian’s advice to young law students is to enjoy the process. “I think I had such a singular focus [during law school] that I didn’t stop to appreciate the uniqueness of the whole experience,” she says.  “I think this is why tv shows about lawyers do so well – I’m not saying that my life is like Suits, but it is definitely not ordinary!”  

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